“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad books.”
—The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows
Mary Doria Russell Epitaph
This is a fantastic sequel to Doc, her brilliant 2011 novel about Doc Holliday. This narrative concentrates on Wyatt Earp, dissecting the legend and creating a Homeric tragedy in turbulent American history. As only she can, she unearths truths out of myths, creating an epic. Dramatic backstory, detail and aftermath of the O.K. coral. Complicated bittersweet tale of the West in 1881. 30 seconds and several lifetimes. Complex characters, moving bonds of brotherhood.
If you loved the PBS special on the Earps you will marvel at this novel. I think reading Doc first would give you a greater appreciation of this story, as well as look forward to the vignettes of Doc.
All of her books are well worth reading, and five stars. She has a PhD in Biological Anthropology and her research skills are also legendary (19 linear feet of books and source material for his book, to say nothing of recreating a trail ride).
Ian Caldwell The Fifth Gospel
This is Caldwell’s second book and is a fast paced addictive read: part murder mystery, part family saga, part legal thriller and part papal politics. It is a thought provoking, intellectual thriller, again with extraordinary research and moving human drama. Fascinating history of Eastern Orthodox and catholic religions, the shroud of Turin and the gospels as historical teachings. Excellent balance of smart characters, intricate twists, sacrifice and forgiveness.
It needed a map, the Vatican is an intricate mystery on so many levels.
A second reading is possible to rethink some of the detailed information. Recommend listening to the audio book narrated by British actor Jack Davenport.
Neil Gaiman Trigger Warnings
If it has Gaiman’s name on it, I am going to buy it in hardcover preferably, with or without a coupon. In an Indie bookstore if I can. 25 stories and poems about the dark corridors of our imaginations. Most of these have been printed elsewhere: I strongly urge you to get your hands on the illustrated book version of The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains (2010). When I reviewed A Study in Sherlock (2011) I highlighted The Case of Death and Honey as one of the best. It is fantastic to have them collected here, as several were hard to track down. Do not read in one sitting.
(NB The Truth is a Black Cave is exceptionally read by Euan Morton in Stories by Neil Gaiman (2010) RPL has the audio book! I loved the audio book read by Gaiman himself, but first at the Sydney Opera House. BUT Morton’s Scottish voice is absolutely perfect for this Skye folktale. Yes, I have read this four times. Once when published, again when Eddie Campbell illustrated, once listening to Gaiman, and last night listening to Morton.)
Sarah Jio The Look Of Love (2014)
I am not sure how I missed this as I have read all of her novels. This is slight deviation from her usual style, but was a rewarding, enchanting read, once again in modern Seattle. It is an unusual fantasy with interesting characters and journeys we all make with love. The story reveals six types of love found in the family and friends of Jane Williams, who isn’t sure she’d recognize any. Pragma, Agape, Mania, Storge, Eros, Ludos. Happy endings are not necessarily found but it’s charming, heartfelt and well written. A perfect beach read, a perfect cosy Sunday read, or a perfect rainy day escape.